by Soeren Kern:
“Who has the right to say that France in thirty or forty years will not be a Muslim country? Who has the right in this country to deprive us of it?” — Marwan Muhammed, spokesman, Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), Paris.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls said he was “shocked” by an RTL Radio report which estimated that more than 40,000 cars are burned in France every year.
The Muslim population of France reached an estimated 6.5 million in 2013. Although France is prohibited by law from collecting official statistics about the race or religion of its citizens, this estimate is based on the average of several recent studies that attempt to calculate the number of people in France whose origins are from Muslim majority countries.
This estimate would imply that the Muslim population of France is now approximately 10% of the country’s total population of around 66 million. In real terms, France has the largest Muslim population in the European Union.
Not surprisingly, Islam and the question of Muslim immigration were an ever-present topic in newspaper headlines during 2013. In practical terms, the debate over Islam in France centered mainly on questions about French identity, secularism and security-related issues.
What follows is a chronological review of some of the main stories about the rise of Islam in France during 2013:
On January 1, 2013, Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced that a total of 1,193 cars and trucks were torched across France on New Year’s Eve. He also said he was “shocked” by an RTL Radio report which estimated that more than 40,000 cars are burned in France every year.
Valls broke with recent tradition by publicly announcing the number of car burnings because “the French people should know the truth.” His predecessor, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, decided in 2010 to stop making public the number of car burnings because doing so had the effect of encouraging competition between rival gangs of Muslim youths, determined to see which of them could cause the most destruction.
Car burnings are increasingly commonplace in all French cities and are often attributed to shiftless young Muslims who reside in suburban slums known as banlieues. French authorities are especially eager to avoid a repetition of the riots in 2005, when the deaths of two Muslim teenagers in the banlieue of Clichy-sous-Bois near Paris sparked weeks of looting and car-burning, and led to the imposition of a state of emergency.
Meanwhile, jihadists in France and elsewhere debated how to respond to a comic book biography of the Prophet Mohammed published on January 2 by the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo.
According to the inestimable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which translated the Arabic twitter posts of several jihadists, the suggestions included: “killing France’s ambassadors, just as the ‘manly’ Libyan fighters killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi; carrying out operations similar to 9/11, London’s July 7, 2005 bombings, and Madrid’s March 11, 2004 bombings, because only attacks of this kind would deter and defeat the ‘crusaders’; carrying out assassinations; conducting suicide bombings outside the French Information Ministry building; and holding demonstrations outside French embassies, especially in Egypt, because it has [allegedly] been proven that the Egyptian public can sway the entire Arab public.”
It was also suggested that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) kill the hostages it is holding, and that anyone who can kill a French national do so without hesitation.
The Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo were destroyed in an arson attack in November 2011 after the magazine featured a cartoon of Mohammed on its cover. The attack marked a serious escalation of a long-running Islamic war on free speech and expression in Europe.
Read more at Gatestone Institute
- French City with 40% Muslim Population is the Most Dangerous City in Europe (frontpagemag.com)